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Peaks and Valleys: Week Eight

This is a weekly feature that aims to recap recent (last ten games) player trends and news. Feel free to whine about the judgements.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Ledge is crowded.

It was an objectively awful week for the Avalanche, who saw their playoff hopes fizzle straight from "outside" to "longest shot." The Edmonton Oilers came to town on Tuesday and walked out with a 4-0 lead. Then the Avs played a home-and-home series with Minnesota and lost both to the Wild, 5-3 on the road Thursday and 6-4 at home Saturday. They now sit in 15th in the West with 24 points, 6 out of a playoff spot.

Mile High Hockey Hero of the Week: Matt Duchene

Why? Because, dammit. He has 13 points in his last 9 games, 11 of which were in the last 6. 4 of his last 5 games have been multi-point affairs, with the lone holdout being the Edmonton shutout. He has been strong all over the place, in all situations, against all opponents. By the way Dater had a cool little story about his off-ice improvements yesterday, check it out if you missed it. Of course, he's shooting 30% in his last ten games. Nothing unreasonable about expecting that to continue at all.

3. Ryan O'Byrne
(9GP, 22 hits, 1G)
Cold just.... double plus ungood.
4. Greg Zanon
(7GP, 10 hits, 1A)
Cold Zanon has finally found his way into the press box a few times. Aren't you glad he's signed for 0.5625 David Jones Money, and through next season to boot?
5. Shane O'Brien
(10GP, 1A)
Cold Well, #theladies have found him on the ice for 10 games straight for the first time this season. He's kept to 16:17 ATOI, and is only occasionally a disaster! Aren't you glad he's signed for half a David Jones Money for two more years?
6. Erik Johnson
(5GP, 3A, 19:48 ATOI)
Meh Johnson's ice time should continue to climb, because he's back to game speed now and the assists have finally started to trickle in. It won't, because Sacco has never given EJ top-pairing minutes, but it should.
7. John Mitchell
(10GP, 3-1-4)
Meh Mitchell has been in an alien place, for him: the wing. With O'Reilly back, Landeskog with him, and Downie and Hejduk both out, Mitchell slots onto Stastny's side. He's been pretty ok on the wing with both those centers though.
8. Jan Hejda
(10GP, 4A, 12 hits)
Meh Here's one I don't understand. In his first 10 games Hejda was averaging 2.3 hits/game. In the last 10 he's down to 1.2 hits/game. Barrie's last game was 6 games ago; Hejda has had 5 hits TOTAL since then. Staying more positional?
11. Jamie McGinn (10GP, 1-1-2, 38 shot attempts)
Cold I'm out of jokes for this one, fellas. Jamie has to be better.
12. Chuck Kobasew (10GP, 2-1-3, +3 Jibbles) Meh Could CTRL-V this one but nah. Kobasew has continued to be a good 4th line center for us. He played less than 6 minutes on Saturday... but that would be Sacco playing the hell out of his scorers to try to come back.
15. P.A. Parenteau
(10GP, 4-9-13)
so hot
right now
Many of Matt Duchene's heroics wouldn't be possible without P.A. Parenteau. PA's production has been more steady than Duchene's though.
17. Aaron Palushaj (7GP, 3A)
Meh With Jones exiled to the fourth line, Palushaj has spent time on O'Reilly's wing and has benefited with 3 assists in his last 4 games (team's 5). He's also received light TOI with 51.5% Ozone starts, 6th most protected among forwards.
22. Matt Hunwick
(10GP, 3A, 21:12 ATOI)
Meh Matt Hunwick, defensive defenseman? His 44.4% Ozone starts are the least-protected among Avs defenders, despite fairly poor qualcomp, and he's come away with a positive relative Corsi. That's interesting.
23. Milan Hejduk (5GP, 1A) Injured
or maybe
Hejduk returned from an upper body injury on Thursday, but was out again on Saturday as an officially healthy, coach's decision scratch. He's appeared in one of the team's last 6 games.
26. Paul Stastny
(10GP, 3-4-7)
kind of
He has 7 points in his last 10, but 0 points in the majority of them. Which is weird to me. His rel Corsi is in the negative these days but he is 14th among forwards in Ozone starts (40.4%) and playing seriously tough opponents. Tough read.
40. Mark Olver
Nachos According to Capgeek, Olver is still exempt from waivers. Yet here he is, suiting up in a suit every night, while other Avs are demoted to Cleveland (see below)...
41. Tyson Barrie (Lake Erie)


44. Ryan Wilson
Injured He played 3 games, each with less TOI than the last, and then was declared not actually healthy enough after all. Makes me wonder if he came back too soon to try for a playoff push (which is dead in the water so now he's healing again).
54. David Jones
(10GP, 1-1-2)
Cold I don't have the heart to whine about Jones anymore. He's been skating on the 4th line now. A wake-up call is probably not gonna do it... he's put 73% of his shots on goal in the last 10 so my guess is the goalie is 4x6 for him right now.
55. Cody McLeod
(10GP, 2A, 12 PiM)
Meh "Two of leagues' most stylistically challenged fighters get together for a free clinic on combative awkwardness. For what it's worth edge McLeod... but there's nothing for anyone to be proud of here" -HF reviewer of Mac vs. Konopka
58. Patrick Bordeleau (10GP, 1A 14PiM,) Meh Bordy and Mike Rupp punched each other in Saturday's game. I'm not sure Bordeleau saw another shift after that (1:24 TOI)...
90. Ryan O'Reilly (8GP, 2-4-6) Hot O'Reilly has been very helpful very quickly. All 6 of his points are in the last 6 games. He leads the team, and it's not close, in relative Corsi (+31.4), although his zone starts have been very protected (54.4%).
92. Gabe Landeskog (10GP, 3-4-7) Warming
After going 4 straight games without a point (and only 2 hits), Landy has 4 points in his last 4 games and is trending in the right direction since being paired with Ryan O'Reilly again.
1. Semyon Varlamov Meh Varlamov is a product of his defense right now, which is abhorrent. That's simultaneously a knock on him, because he's not stealing us any games lately, and not, because he's getting the opposite of help.
35. J.S. Giguere Cold
Jiggy really just didn't look good in his period of play against Minnesota on Saturday. Granted he had little help, but he gave up 4 goals on 14 shots.

Coming up!

The Tank (lord help us) rolls on as Chicago visits on Monday (7:00 T), followed by a home-and-home series with WHARRRRRGARBL THE FUCKING DALLAS STARS GNEJGNEPBNNAEB Wednesday (7:30 MT) and Saturday 6:00 MT). sorry. my hate for them is monumental. Sunday the Avs come back home for a divisional matchup against Vancouver (6:00 MT), and speaking of them, if you haven't seen the TSN piece on Luongo and Schneider's off-ice friendship, you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO IT IS AMAZEBALLS.